of them as dangerous.” Still, no one ever
dives on a feed day.
The aquarists are also in charge of water
testing, which plays a big part in keeping
the animals healthy. Squeezed into a narrow laboratory in a converted storage closet, Nelson Saez, a former general interpreter, slips on a pair of plastic gloves and read-ies his test tubes. He is testing for nitrates,
which, he says, come from decaying matter
like plants and leftover food. Nitrates lead
to the development of ammonia, which can
sicken the animals.
Jenkinson’s is mindful not only of the animals within its walls, but beyond. The aquarium raises funds to support the preserva- tion of rainforests in Costa Rica. Its own adopt-an-animal program supports animal-protection e;orts
around the world. In its classroom, the
aquarium hosts talks on issues like shark
finning and the e;ect of climate change
on polar bears. In fact, Jenkinson’s is the
only member of Polar Bears International
without an actual polar bear.
“The whole idea is education,” Claus
says. “If we are able to get you passion-
ate about something, maybe you will go
out and spread the word.”
Jenkinson’s is also part of an inter-
national e;ort to breed Lake Victoria
cyclids, a fish species that has gone
extinct in the wild. The goal is to return
them to their natural habitat in Africa.
Other endangered species at
Jenkinson’s include the corn snake and
the tiger salamander, both natives of
New Jersey’s Pinelands, a federally protected area that is still threatened by
development and pollution. “We like
to butt up against protected areas,”
says senior keeper Carol McCallum.
Barnegat Bay is another fragile environment the aquarium addresses in its
Finally, at 10 AM, the doors of the
aquarium swing open; by noon, the facility is filled with kids rushing from exhibit
to exhibit. While the new explorers take
it all in, the aquarium’s sta;ers continue
their focus on making sure everyone’s
experience is one to remember.
Jenkinson’s Aquarium, 300 Ocean
Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach. Summer
hours: 10 AM to 10 PM. After Labor Day until
the end of June: 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission:
adults, $11; children ages 3 to 12, $7; children under 2, free; seniors 62 and over,
$7. For information call 732-899-1212. ;
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